Fred said there are soon going to be one-way trips to Mars, for colonisation purposes. I said, feeling kindly disposed, that I would not hold him back and that if he wanted to go, he should go, and that I would not mind accompanying him. He then said, ‘Yeah but, we would never be selected for a trip such as that.’ Oh, I thought. Shit. You’re right. Of course we wouldn’t. Those bloody selection processes are everywhere, aren’t they, scuppering so many people’s wondrous plans. For some reason this made me laugh and laugh. It was the thought of how we would fail on so many levels, if not every level: too old (both), a bit/quite/highly mad (me), blind in one eye (Fred), not likely to have children when we get there (me), too fat and not fit enough (both), possibly/probably cancerous (me), not flexible enough to get into the space-suit (Fred)….you could go on and on.
I went for a walk on Friday and we were talking about books again, and the shift that is happening. One lady told me that at the American school they are not teaching handwriting any more. Worrying. New generations are going to be entirely dependent upon their machines. Actual physical books, however much we love them, are beginning to look antiquated, anachronistic, oddly static. I feel like I am mourning their passing already. When you see piles of them for free outside Sainsbury’s don’t you just want to rescue them?
News Flash: My friend Janet is moving to a house in the middle of the countryside not far away from us. We are well excited as we will be able to go there by bike, probably with the dogs lolloping alongside, get pissed and bike back again, so pissed that we forget the dogs (which Janet and David did to us the first night we met, lol. We were like, oh, Boingo and Crow are staying over, OK!) We are going to do creativity workshops together. She will do ‘book transformation’ and I will do creative writing and whoever wants to can come along and do it with us. (ooh, sounds rude but isn’t.)
OK, so here we have Shardonnay, Part 3.
Chapter 5. Evidence of Genius
It must be said me man is a bit of a looker. Oh yes. Even if you couldn’t tell yourself, you’d soon notice cos when you’re walkin along with him in town all the ladies’ heads turn. Don’t they just? And at a party if he’s chattin away to a couple of girls, oh, yes, they’ll be gigglin away, and givin him the eye. He’s just like…magnetic? You can’t help but look at him. Basically what I’m tryin to say is, he is eye-candy, big time. Ticks all the boxes: symmetrical features, tick, startling blue eyes, tick, faintly stubbled manly jaw, tick, even teeth, tick, fuckin heart-stoppin smile, big tick, oh yeah.
He’s so clever, he is, he’s like litrally on another planet most of the time, thinkin about maths and that. He loves his work, loves writin lectures for all the students, loves doin his research at the university. But most of all he loves me. When he first met me I were only seventeen and he were twenty three. He told me I were the most beautiful thing he ever saw in his life. He couldn’t keep his hands off of me! He were forever nuzzlin me boobs, strokin me hair. He tells me he were only half a man until he met me. Aaah! I put the light into his life, he says. In more ways than one, I think. I know how to look after a man. He leads one well cushy life. Oh, yeah, I give 110 percent to the job. He is one lucky guy.
I make everything nice for him. I take his suits to the cleaners, I iron his clothes and put them away all nice. I personally am one of them people what like everything to be just so, clean and tidy. If you were to see our house, you would see for yourself: it is lovely, every detail. There’s always big lilies in all the vases, I polish the floors, I dust all the frames, I shine the mirrors, I make sure the window-cleaners have been round. We got a lovely big lounge with a massive settee and a big real fire what you can turn on with a switch. Our TV screen fills practically the whole of one wall. Big French windows lead onto a massive deck, a moss-free lawn, a pond with a fountain, me gnomes and me lion statues.
Our bedroom has the most largest en-suite you ever saw. It’s all colour-cordinated in mauves, greys and purples with them massive shiny black tiles round the walls. Me man has his own walk-in wardrobe with his suits all hanging there, pressed, his shoes all laid out nice, all polished and waiting for him. T-shirts and underwear are all sorted and neatly stacked.
All these little touches really do make a difference to a man’s life. I even fill up his car for him. I take the car for its MOT. I open his mail, take his cheques to the bank, massage his neck when he’s tired, run him a nice bubble bath, warm his dressin gown for him on the radiator. Really, what I’m tryin to say is, he is one lucky man. And you know, he should maybe have appreciated that a little bit more, you know what I’m sayin?
So anyway, nuff said, it’s all good, but it soon became obvious that most of Pat’s clients was pacifically requestin the superior love bullets of my drop-dead gorjuss fella. The word had got around as I’d been Pat’s regular supplier for years, since a coupla months after I met him. It didn’t help that them two kids conceived like five years before had turned out to be ruddy geniuses. The little girl were the pride of the pre-prep. She’d gone and won a drama prize, the maths cup, the science award, and she were only five. She even wrote a little article what got printed in the paper. And the boy, conceived by a different mum, were the fastest runner in the infant school, had his picture in the paper every week with his football team, came top of the class in every subject. They was legendary! Famous.
And them triplets what I were telling you about. OMG. One of them only said his first word at four months! ‘Tractor,’ he said, and that is a difficult word for a baby. The others wasn’t far behind neither. ‘MY dolly,’ I heard the baby girl saying when she were five months old. Thing is, you know, people want clever kids. It ain’t gonna be no effort for them little chaps to get their GCSEs is it? Piece a piss. They’ll probably go to uni and that, like no sweat. One of em’ll probably be the Prime Minister for all I know.
Anyway what I’m saying is, I done a service to the world, by bringing them into it. To be totally honest with ya, sometimes I do like feel a teensy twinge of like, what is it? Guilt, maybe? But I push it away so quick I hardly feel it. No, the real crux of the matter is: Matt should never of pissed me off and then I never woulda done all this. Not being funny but it’s a bit of a no-brainer, that. Anyone in their right mind could see he’d brung it on hisself.
Chapter 6. A Knock at the Door
So I opened up the door one day to a tall, rather hunky teenager wrapped up in a big woolly snood. Ooh, bit of a looker, bit of alright, I ain’t gonna lie. Longish blond kinda windswept hair. Musta been about fourteen.
‘What is it?’ I said.
‘Erm…does Matthew Stern live here?’ he asked, just like that, the cheeky bugger. Oh, Jesus! Just like that I understood who he were. He had the lip, he had the eyes, he had the flash a purple. It all stood out a mile.
‘No, he don’t,’ I snapped and slammed the door in his pretty face.
A couple of weeks later I opened up to a couple of gorgeous girls. Little snub noses, rosy cheeks. They was wearing matching furry Russian hats. Their hair were like silver straw.
‘Excuse me,’ one of em stammered. ‘We’re just wondering….we just heard….maybe…does our dad live here?’
‘Not on your life, Nellie,’ I rasped, prising their fingers off of the door-jamb.
I leant on the wall once they’d gone, breathing heavy like. My heart had gone all of a flutter. I felt like I were gonna pass out. Little upstarts. How dare they? Come round here tryina get me stuff off of me no doubt. Hunh. Little bastards.